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River Boats

Light and Shadow


This picture of boats on the river offers an excellent exercise in drawing light, shadow and reflections on water.
Boats © S. Woods
© S. Woods
Once you've sketched in the overall composition, draw the boat shapes, taking your time and carefully observing the subtle changes of angle. Draw the timbers continuously (as if the seats weren't there) then draw the seats in after, so that the lines of the boards don't make awkward deviations (even a slight error will be picked up by the eye).

Don't stress about the reflections: trust your eye and draw what you see - patches of light and dark - and the water surface will emerge. Make sure you observe the crisp edges that indicate a shiny surface. Most importantly, observe light and dark: make sure you get those shadows dark enough, and use a full tonal range to describe the varying tones of the timber.

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